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“Just what I need,” barks Colin Newman at the start of Wire’s “Two Minutes.” And if, like me, what you need is a break from the syrupy glaze of the holiday season, then cleanse yourself with a dose of Wire. “Two Minutes” is steel wool for the rusty punk soul, or as Newman puts it, “Opera in the age of fragmentation.”
Newman then declares: “Coffee is not a replacement for food or happiness.” So true. But like coffee, the repetitious guitar licks that support the deliciously abrasive vocals on “Two Minutes” can help span the gap between despair and grim acceptance of one’s fate. According to Newman, fate isn’t looking particularly rosy either, since he makes mention of “a dirty cartoon duck” that may be “possibly signaling the end of Western Civilization.”
Wire is a band with a rare gift. Their ability to produce clean-lined art punk has spanned four decades and made fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though Newman and long time collaborator Graham Lewis are in their mid-fifties, they are a couple of old school blokes who aren’t about to lose their edge any time soon.
The current configuration of Newman, Lewis, and Robert Grey (a.k.a. Gotobed) recorded their 12th album Red Barked Tree, which the band’s own Pink Flag label will release on January 11, 2011.